Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against PSG during their Champions League QF first leg on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Paris Saint-Germain face a huge task to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after Cristiano Ronaldo defied predictions that his powers are waning with two goals as Real Madrid won 3-1 in the first leg of their Last-16 tie. Billed as a contest between World Player of the Year Ronaldo and his Brazilian heir-in-waiting Neymar, the 33-year-old Portuguese came out emphatically on top as he became the first player to score 100 Champions League goals for the same club.
On a pulsating evening in the Bernabeu, Ronaldo dragged Real level with a penalty after Adrien Rabiot had given PSG the lead, fed by a cheeky Neymar backheel. As PSG seemed to be heading for a draw that would have put the French side in the driving seat for the return leg on March 6, Ronaldo turned the match in Madrid's favour with a scrappy goal that bounced in off his knee.
As Madrid poured forward, Marcelo piled on the pain with an 86th-minute volley to show PSG — who have never won the Champions League - the value of the experience of winning the competition 12 times.
"Real Madrid love the Champions League and as players, we can feel that on the pitch," Ronaldo said after being named man of the match. "It was a very important victory. We started the match well but then conceded the goal. But this is the Champions League and Real Madrid know from experience that games last 90 minutes and here at home we wanted a good result," the Portuguese told UEFA.com.
Ronaldo admitted that the penalty that allowed his side to draw level just on the stroke of half-time was crucial. "We knew Paris were a very dangerous side, especially up front with the three strikers they have, but we knew we had to press them," he added.
"I think we sat back a bit more in the second half, but we played better, had more chances and scored two more goals. "Today things worked out for me - I scored twice and helped the team to win, but we know the tie is not finished yet. We need to win there too."
101No. of goals Cristiano Ronaldo has scored for Real in Champions League
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